“Thank you from the bottom of my heart”

Lori Ann Reinhall

Photo: Ulf Reinhall
Editor-in-chief Lori Ann Reinhall thanks her readers, colleagues, and all supporters of The Norwegian American for an exceptional year in 2021, as she looks forward to new successes in 2022.

Dear readers and friends,

We have made it through another year together, and a new one has begun. Happy 2022 from The Norwegian American! 

This year, I believe the word that we must underline is “together.” While 2021 was another good year for our newspaper—historical in many respects—we could not have done it on our own. We rely heavily on the community that supports us: as subscribers, donors, and contributors. I know I have said this many times, but somehow, I cannot say it enough. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

With this issue, it is somehow very fitting that His Majesty King Harald V of Norway has the word in our Opinion section—and his message resonates strongly with us. If anything, the pandemic has taught us that we need each other: in our private spheres with our families and circle of friends, in our greater communities, and as part of global community. It is comforting to know that we are not alone but also important to remember that we have a responsibility to one another. 

As I was browsing through a number of newspapers and looking at social media on New Year’s Day, I was struck by the number of people who commented on 2021 as the “worst year ever.” Indeed, it has been a very challenging year for many. Some have lost their jobs or source of income, others have had to deal with the changing logistics of the pandemic, and others have lost loved ones. I do not want to downplay this by any means. 

But in 2021, I also saw what many people can do—and it is impressive and inspiring. We also have to look at the actual realities of our day-to-day existence, as most of us still enjoy comfortable lives, with a roof over our heads and food on the table. This is not the reality for many in own country and around the world. It is important to put things in this larger perspective. I hope that in 2022, all of us will be motivated to engage in the sharing and volunteering that King Harald sees as so fundamental to our well-being, both as individuals and as a whole.

One the agenda for 2022

As I send this issue to our printer on Jan. 3, 2022, it is also a special day for me personally. Today, I am 65 years old and am officially a senior citizen. For me, there is something wonderful about each birthday, as I believe that the age that I am at is always the best one. And with each year, I see that I have gained even more perspective on my own life and history, and I hope I have grown a little wiser.

Is it retirement time for me? Heavens, no—there is still much to do, and I am still having too much fun! I cannot tell you how much it means to me when I hear from you, our readers, how much this newspaper means to you, and it’s my intention to take it to new heights in 2022. It is my challenge, and I am counting on you to be there with me along the way.

So, what is on the agenda for 2022? More exclusive features and the unique quality content we provide, of course, but there will also be some changes and many improvements.

We know that change is not always welcome and easy to accept, and we already saw a few changes in 2021. Some of you may miss the birthday list, for example, but our research showed that we were supporting people who did not support us, or who, in many cases, had not been alive for many years. 

By looking at our data, we have become more aware of the necessity to monetize more aspects of our publication, because we cannot afford to take resources away from more critical parts of our operations if we are not earning money. 

For this reason, we have decided to drop our community events calendar in 2022. We have found that the online participation does not support continuing it, and since we are a national and international publication, the content is too local for much of the readership. Moreover, many event postings are not tied to our subscribership. We are still offering very reasonable advertising options to get the word out about your events—and we also believe it will be more effective for you. I am happy to report, too, that we will not be raising our rates in 2022, neither for advertising nor subscriptions.

That said, we are also offering new enhancements to The Norwegian American in 2022. One will be the addition of a new e-edition, which will present the print format of the newspaper online. This will include our print advertisements, complete with click-throughs, of interest to our readers and to our advertisers. At the same time, we will continue with the blog format of our website, which is so popular, and we are looking for ways to make it even more attractive and easier to use.

Fundraising for the future

But perhaps, above all, 2022 will be a year of fundraising. Currently, we are managing to produce the paper with minimal staff and many freelancers and volunteers, but this model is fragile, and it is not sustainable. Many of our staff work extremely long hours to create our biweekly miracle, but looking ahead, we need to ensure the funds are in place to adequately compensate and motivate the team. More resources are needed to make The Norwegian American grow. “It takes money to make money to make money,” as the old saying goes. Among other things, we need to invest in marketing to grow our subscriber base, sponsorships, donors, and advertising revenue. 

Fortunately, we now have a better infrastructure in place to make all of this happen, with our non-profit status under the umbrella of Norway House, the National Norwegian Center in Minneapolis. We have already seen many positive results of this new relationship in 2021, and we expect 2022 will be a game-changing year for us—all with your help. Your donations are now tax-deductible, and remember, all donations—big and small—help us get closer to our goals.

A special issue and special thanks

Finally, this New Year’s message to you would not be complete without a few words about this special issue we are bringing to you about our friends at Mindekirken in Minneapolis. For us, Mindekirken stands as a symbol of our community and its heritage, and we cannot say how much it means to us to share in the celebration of its centennial.

First of all, we want to thank everyone who has worked to bring this issue together. There is the entire staff and volunteers at Mindekirken, who have helped us pull the content together. In particular, I would also like to thank Mary Jo Thosrsheim of Norway Art® for her meticulously researched and insightful article about the art and architecture of the church. I would also like to thank Joseph Grødahl, events director at Norway House, for his assistance as a liaison with the church. Amy Coppersmith of Coppersmith Photography also needs to me be mentioned for her outstanding artistry. Together with our extraordinarily talented designer, Mattea Bertling, she has helped make this issue extra beautiful.

Last but not least, I must thank all of my ever-faithful staff and writers for consistently giving their all—with this issue and every issue. There are so many hours and so much love that go into The Norwegian American. We are so proud to share it with you, and wish you many hours of happy reading, peace, health, and prosperity in 2022.

Happy New Year! —Godt nytt år!

Lori Ann Reinhall

The Norwegian American

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 7, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.